‘ASD Bright Ideas – we understand autism… because we are a family with a child on the autistic spectrum we understand the challenges and rewards that you face on a daily basis.’
Sandra Bloe from Hastings, East Sussex UK has 2 daughters, her youngest daughter Tanya, 17, is on the autistic spectrum and has a condition called occipital encephalocele which is a neural tube defect where there is a sac like protrusion of the brain and the membranes covering the brain through an opening in the skull. Tanya is monitored yearly and has MRI scans for the condition.
As well as looking after a young child with such a complex medical condition Sandra was also trying to gain a diagnosis for her daughter of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Sandra’s background is in that of special needs education and in particular caring for children with ASD. Therefore she knew the signs and characteristics to look for. However it took 12 years to finally get a diagnosis for her daughter.
“Tanya had no language skills until the age of 7. She was obsessive and had to have a routine. Therefore she had all the typical ASD signs. I spoke to her Consultants and said that I felt she was autistic and was told ‘no you are looking too much into it as you are trained and work with ASD children’.”
Sandra further explains:
“For years I battled going from one consultant to another. Finally when she was 12 we saw yet another Consultant who was an ASD specialist. When she looked at me and said ‘yes she is autistic’ I just broke down in tears, not because I was unhappy but because after years of being told I was wrong Tanya could finally get the help she deserved.”
Due to Sandra’s training in Autism she was fortunately able to put interventions in place prior to Tanya’s diagnosis. She used visual timetables and strategies at home in order to help her daughter with her daily difficulties.
Sandra told Autism Daily Newscast that Tanya is the inspiration behind ASD Bright Ideas. This is an online shop that sells social stories, teaching resources and visual resources aimed towards those with learning disabilities and Autism.
The website states:
‘Autism awareness products and visual aids to help your autistic child with their visual auditory processing skills. All our resources are widely used in special needs schools to support their learning, social skills of all autistic, Asperger’s, speech delay & disorders, ADHD and many more special needs requirements.’
Sandra told us that the reason for starting ASD Bright Ideas was to help others with resources that she knew worked as well as helping other parents. However the main reason was for Tanya’s future.
“The aim is for Tanya to take it over when she leaves college to give her some independence and a purpose in life. Obviously this will be with our help. A lot of the bags and badges available on the website are own designs. At the moment it is only I and my husband Ian and Tanya who do the work”
Sandra told us that Tanya is now 17 and has settled in well at college studying Art which is her obsession and passion. Sandra still uses visuals with Tanya as this helps to provide structure as she likes to know what is happening throughout the day.
Sandra ends by telling us:
“My hope for the future is that Tanya is basically happy. She has come such a long way and has had to overcome so many things in her life”.